Gender imbalance and academic posts

 

Sir, – Recent references to the impact of caring on women’s lives are well made and ultimately reflect the reluctance of the State to really value such care (“Imbalance at the top in third level”, Education, March 18th; Letters, March 20th).

However, universities also have responsibilities to create organisational cultures which are “women friendly”. The impact of such cultures is illustrated by the fact that while roughly one in three of those at professorial level in the University of Limerick are women, the national average is 19 per cent (with NUI Galway having only 13 per cent). Furthermore, the University of Limerick moved from a position where it had no woman at professorial level 15 years ago to one where it now has almost twice the national average. Hence even in the context of less than optimum involvement by the State, change is possible. Universities cannot be allowed to ignore their responsibilities. – Yours, etc,

Prof PAT O’CONNOR,

Department of Sociology,

Faculty of Arts, Humanities

and Social Science,

University of Limerick.